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Inexperience and distraction rather than recklessness leads to many crashes involving teens

May 16, 2014

Despite declines in the rates of serious motor crashes, the largest cause of mortality for teens in the US and other more prosperous nations is motor vehicle crashes.  The inexperience of adolescent drivers and the accompanying underdevelopment of necessary skills for safe driving means they don’t always have the situation awareness to recognize hazards according to a new study Adolescence, Attention Allocation, and Driving Safety published online this month in Journal of Adolescent Health. In studies of simulated driving, as well as in naturalistic conditions, teens compared with adults divert their attention to secondary tasks for longer periods at a time, leaving the forward roadway and safety-critical driving tasks unattended. Encourage your teen driver to have more simulated experience before driving and to avoid distractions when behind the wheel.